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FLSP challenges ‘Counter Terrorism Act’

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FLSP instituted an action challenging the proposed ‘Counter Terrorism Act’ which contains provisions to oppress the progressive movements in the guise of prevention of terrorism. The previous Act namely ‘Prevention of Terrorism Act’ had been distorted by all the capitalist regimes ruthlessly violating the rights of the people. Still there are plenty of political prisoners who were charged under PTA contrary to the fundamental tights guaranteed by the existing capitalist constitution. The new attempt is nothing but another move to strengthen oppressive laws.

Clause 3 of the said Bill which sets out the definition of the offence of terrorism, lends itself to encompassing all legitimate acts of dissent and exercise of fundamental rights. Clause 31 read together Clause 27(2)(a) of the said Bill takes the power of the Magistrate, and thereby the judiciary, to ascertain whether there are adequate grounds for the detention of the suspect and thus he Detention Order issued by a Deputy Inspector General of Police removes all authority of the Magistrate to oversee the deprivation of liberty.

Clause 61 of the said Bill, whereby a police officer is empowered to issue directives to the public without an order of a Magistrate nd “not to engage in any specified activity” is inconsistent with Articles 10, 14(1)(a),  14(1)(b), 14(1)(c), 14(1)(e), 14(1)(f), 14(1)(g) and 14(1)(h) of the Constitution.Clause 77 specifically states that the Attorney general may impose certain penalties in instances where the AG has decided to withdraw. It is inconceivable that an executive office is empowered to ‘impose’ a penalty, which power can only be exercised by the judiciary. Therefore the judicial power of the People as described in Article 4(c ) would be removed from courts.

Clause 92 of the said Bill erodes the power of Parliament to forthwith receive and approve any rules and/or regulations made thereunder, introduces a 30 day time frame for such approval to be obtained and removes from accountability any decision and/or action duly done thereunder, resulting in an inconsistency with Article 3 read with Article 4(a) and 12(1) of the Constitution.

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